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Posted on Mar 12, 2009 in Across the US, News, Random

250 Potheads, $1.2 million seized? Something sounds Phishy.

This is an interesting story that I came across on Reason.com (first reported on rawstory.com).

According to police officials in Hampton, VA, during the first set of shows for the Phish reunion concert, police claim to have arrested 250 concertgoers, collected $68,000 in cash, and recovered over $1.2 million in narcotics.

While I have no problem believing that police arrested 250 Phish fans and confiscated over $68k, I have an extremely hard time believing that 250 potheads could have $1.2 million of ganja… even at a Phish concert.

Lets do the math on this. If you have 250 people arrested, and $1.2 million worth of drugs are seized, that yields an average of $4,800 per person arrested. I’m sorry, but I’ve been to my share of Phish concerts, and I don’t see how it would be realistic for any person to have even $2,000 worth of any drug on them.

But this is where it gets even more interesting:

Hampton police made “81 Felony arrests and 113 Misdemeanor arrests for a total of 194,” stated an advisory. “There were 119 Felony charges and 126 Misdemeanor charges for a total of 245. A total of 46 criminal summonses were issued. A total street value of narcotics seized was $1,213,882.80.”

In the state of Virginia, possession isn’t a felony, regardless of the number of times you’re caught. In the case of the Phish concert, it seems likely that these felonies were all the result of selling, which in Virginia, only becomes a felony if you’re selling more than a half an ounce.

While I could create a variety of breakdown scenarios, I haven’t been able to come up with anything that would yield a net police seizure of $1.2million.

I’ll be interested to see the final police reports in more detail to see how far off these numbers actually are.